Bogged Down in the Red Zone?

Excerpted from Every Man Ministries by Kenny Luck

Every fall, like the swallows that return to the San Juan Capistrano Mission not far from our Southern California home, our family makes its annual return to the Rose Bowl, where the UCLA Bruins play their home football games. From the opening kickoff, I always edge up in my bleacher seat when the Bruins reach the red zone, that patch of grass between the twenty-yard line and the goal line. Everyone knows UCLA has a great chance to score when they reach that zone. The offense is in full attack mode while the defense stiffens in a do-or-die effort to hold the Bruins to a field-goal attempt. As my father-in-law likes to say, ‘It’s mano a mano in the RZ’, and he’s right. The red zone is all about the heart and desire to drive the ball all the way in.

I’ve long felt that the red zone is an apt metaphor for our spiritual journeys. Early on, we think we’re moving the ball for God, but it’s really more like losing a few yards here and gaining a few there. As we spiritually mature and reach the red zone ‘ where we can score against Satan and for the kingdom ‘ all too often we fail to get the ball all the way in. For one reason or another, we never completely reach full attack mode. We lose focus, Satan gets us too busy, we fall into sin, or we lack the experience to make the right call in a hotly contested domain of our lives.

You don’t want to be in a hurry-up offense when you’re in the red zone. But all too often we live in a rush, rush, rush, shoving aside the time to read God’s Word or invest in relationships with other Christian men or volunteer for God’s work. For many men, this lack of time is a major source of disconnection. One guy in the church where I teach a men’s bible study spoke for thousands of others when he told me, ‘I’m always running late! I wake up late, I leave the house late, and I arrive at work a little late ‘ really late if the traffic is bad. I must not be prioritizing my time well.’

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Far too many men do not give themselves
fully to being God’s man.
It’s like going three-and-out in a football game.

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In football, a blitz is intended to distract and disrupt the opposing offense. In life, Satan has been calling in spiritual blitzes on each of us. ‘Hurry the man’ is one of his most effective drive-stuffers for men in the red zone. Or he may blitz our thought life, leaving our offense spinning its wheels in muddy sensuality. Whatever it takes, he’ll blitz us with any behavior or distraction that limits us to no gain or the equivalent of spiritual field goals instead of touch downs.

So what can be done about it?

Like a good football team, we must read the blitz and adjust. Look, I’ve been sacked more than once in the red zone. More important, I’ve fumbled away my intimacy with God by choosing my own way rather than adjusting according to the gifts and the training He’s given me.

I started Every Man Ministries in 1999 to help other men in their spiritual walks and in building better marriages and strong families. That quest has taken me to every part of the country, where I’ve spoken before thousands of men at various men’s conferences. When I’m home in Southern California, I sit down each week with one hundred men to study God’s Word, which often leads to numerous counseling sessions. The chance to be a listening ear, offer advice, and pray with these men has been an awesome privilege. As a pastor friend once said: ‘If you reach a man, then you reach every relationship he has.’

All of this man-to-man experience has convinced me that far too many men do not give themselves fully to being God’s man. It’s like going three-and-out in a football game; they make three lackluster attempts to run or pass the ball, then they punt away their opportunity. Next month we’ll talk about getting back in the ‘zone mode.’

For more help on this subject, see Every Man’s Battle.

Bringing It Out of The Dark

Joe Dallas

Addictive sexual behavior is no joke. It includes lust and poor self-control, of course, but it is much more than that. It is a repetitive, constant form of sexual activity that a person feels compelled’not just tempted’to indulge in. Usually this behavior is acted out in the secret use of pornography, prostitutes, anonymous sexual encounters or adult bookstores. It’s bondage of the worst kind because there’s so much shame and remorse attached to it, making it terribly secretive and usually dangerous. It leads to isolation, broken marriages, and untold humiliation. And if you’ve been hooked into it, you know by now that willpower alone won’t stop it. The addict makes countless attempts to stop in his own strength; countless times, he fails spectacularly. It’s bondage of the worst kind because there’s so much shame and remorse attached to it, making it terribly secretive and usually dangerous. It leads to isolation, broken marriages, and untold humiliation. And if you’ve been hooked into it, you know by now that willpower alone won’t stop it. The addict makes countless attempts to stop in his own strength; countless times, he fails spectacularly.

  Addictive sexual behavior is no JOKE and willpower alone won’t STOP it!

That’s partially because the problem thrives in the dark. Sexually addictive behavior is highly secretive. When you are caught up in it, you’re not prone to discuss it with anyone, so friends and family members seldom know what you’re going through. It’s a double life of sorts, involving a public image of normality versus a long-held secret. Usually the man discovers his ‘drug’ (pornography, masturbation, etc.) relatively early in life, becomes dependent on it, and incorporates it into his behavioral makeup. If that’s true of you, you’re carrying quite a burden. You haven’t felt good about your behavior or yourself, but have had no idea how to change. What you do know how to do is hide, and at that I’ll bet you’re a pro. The years of secret-keeping, excuses for prolonged absences from job and family while you’re having sex, and lying to cover your tracks have taught you to conceal your actions and feelings. Besides the destructiveness of your actions, then, you suffered from an unwillingness to let anyone in. When you develop a private world centered around your addiction, it’s the privacy that’s keeping it intact. Disrupt the privacy of your world, then, and you weaken both it and the addiction it protects. You’ll be less inclined to repeat the behavior you’ve given up if you know someone else is involved in your struggle with you.


The PRIVATE world centered around your addiction is what keeps it intact.

A trained Christian professional with experience treating addictions will be valuable to you. As always, you should get a referral from your pastor or a trusted friend if possible. But do find qualified help. With it, you can understand the roots of your addiction and build up the defenses against destructive actions that have been torn down over the years. You also should get into a support group’a Christ-centered one’that’s geared toward this problem. This provides you with a legitimate emotional outlet for the conflicting feelings you’ll experience while you withdraw from your addition. And finally, get some accountability. To be accountable to someone means to let him in on your struggle and to keep him up on your progress. It’s a giving over of your right to privacy to at least one person who has your permission to question you about your day-to-day activities and encourage you when you struggle.


INTEGRITY cannot be maintained apart from ACCOUNTABILITY!

You may balk at this ‘ I certainly did when I was first told that I’d never maintain my integrity unless I got some accountability. But don’t kid yourself’your own history by now has taught you that can’t deal with sexually compulsive behavior by yourself. If you could have, you would have.

Also See:
<a title="Every Man’s Battle Resources” href=”https://secure2.convio.net/nlm/site/Ecommerce/?store_id=1201&FOLDER=0&NAME=every%20man%27s%20battle”>Every Man’s Battle Resources
<a title="Every Man’s Battle Workshop” href=”http://www.everymansbattle.com”>Every Man’s Battle Workshop

What’s in Your Hand?

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied. God said, ‘Throw it on the ground.'” – Exodus 4:2 (NIV)

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re wondering what some obscure Old Testament verse has to do with recovery, and particularly recovery in the sexual integrity realm. Well, as we look at it a little more closely, I think you’ll see it has a lot to do with it.

At this point in his life, Moses was a shepherd, and the shepherd’s staff would have been one of the most useful tools he possessed. So first and foremost, it represented his identity. Every shepherd had one, it was the thing that identified them from other people with other occupations. Secondly, it represented his source of income. It was the thing that kept the sheep in line, and that kept them from wandering off or getting into dangerous situations. It was the thing that enabled him to do his job, and earn a living. And thirdly, it represented his influence on other people, as we see later when he uses it to, through God’s power, part the Red Sea. In short, the staff represented the very essence of Moses.

Give me your whole life,
Who you are!
What you do!
How you act!

So when God tells Moses to throw it down on the ground, it’s not just to perform some fancy trick with a snake, it’s a way of saying, ‘I want you to give me your whole life, who you are, what you do, and how you act. I want you to throw it down before me and let me have it, and let me make you into the man I want you to be.’ What’s your identity? Is it the good father and husband at church, but the one who flirts with and can’t keep his eyes off the secretaries at work? God wants you to throw down that which identifies you with sexual impurity; let Him have it, and let Him change you.

Or how about your source of income? Are you in a job that pays well but is adding to your internet pornography struggle that you can’t seem to get a handle on? Afraid to step out in faith that God has a better job somewhere that will boost your recovery rather than hinder it? God wants you to throw it down, let Him have it and let Him change you.

Or how about your sphere of influence? Do you have leadership gifts that you know God has blessed you with, but you can’t seem to break that addiction to prostitutes or massage parlors? You know you could be a good influence over many people, but right now your gifts are just being wasted? God wants you to throw it down, let Him have it and let Him change you.

Throwing down sexual sin
requires one thing:
submission to God.

Throwing down sexual sin requires one thing: submission to God. It requires saying, ‘God, you know best, and I’m going to give it to you.’ And the best way to ‘give it to God’ is to follow the action plan that Joe gave you at Every Man’s Battle. It requires spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. It requires having an accountability relationship, and a support group of other strugglers. It requires meeting with a spiritual mentor for guidance, and it may require seeing a professional Christian counselor to get at some of the deep-seated wounds that you haven’t felt comfortable dealing with.

Most of all it requires saying, ‘God, everything I am and have is yours, and I throw it down before you, and give it to you.’ Then you’re ready to be sexually pure, and ready to be used in a mighty way by God.

To find a Christian counselor or coach in your area, just call 1-800-NEW-LIFE.

Dave Boyle